Monday, 1 August 2022

"Fine Day's" Battle of the Broken Wagon

 Fine Day, the Cree Warrior Leader stared upon the Canadian soldiers with much confusion as they slowly walked in unison, a slow walk, their legs moving as a centipede. “Why do this?”  he asked Small Bear. But his companion shook his head.  “Starlings?”, Small Bear offered as the red-coated soldiers did walk as those birds flew,  seemingly as one following unknown commands. But perhaps it is so we are confused as we are and will not attack? If that is their plan, it is working well thought Fine Day. Do we?, the warrior contemplated. 

Stepford's contingent in full dress, practicing their formation drill on the open prairie.

Across the meadow and for several hours now the rest of the convoy had moved north leaving a small contingent of the York and Simcoe Regiment to stand guard over the broken wagon, empty of its cargo, and guarding the artillery piece left here so it’s limber horses could provide the extra power to move the other overloaded wagons 

Sgt. Simmons, commanding the gun crew, was resting looking up at the circling birds when his loader made the comment , “The gun just moved!” Getting up from his supine position, the sergeant witness the gun slowly but methodically gaining speed, muzzle first, toward a small gully. “Get up you buggers!”,  he shouted to no one in particular. 

Simmons, Dobkins and crew working to upright the cannon and get it into action.

Two companies of the York and Simcoe Battalion were equally lounging in the midday sun, lifted their heads to see the artillery crew run after their cannon.  Interestingly none got up to help as they remembered the afore mentioned artillery Sergeant suggest to the column’s commander that they could provide the horsepower to move the gun along. “We are not bleeping mules!” was the general consensus and the matter was dropped. Let the artilleryman now become their own mules to drag the damn gun from the bush. Heads returned to the reclining positions as their ears still could hear the sounds of frustrated artillerymen and the shouts of particularly ambitious colour sergeant who was parading his charges in full uniform up and down the grasslands.

This would continue for several minutes when a lone person walking with a limp, came into camp asking for the commander. “ I am one of Bolton‘s Scouts. I encountered a group of Cree moving this way.  They shot my horse and I landed with a slight slight sprain. Got here as quick as God allowed but I must warn that you may be attacked”

Then the shots rang out from the clump of trees to the north-west…..

My simple terrain try of birch trees.  the Cree are hidden somewhere amongst. [spoiler alert: I have no Cree.  But in my defence, historically, the Canadian soldiers would not see any either!] 

So begins the solo scenario set up during the Canadian Northwest Rebellion using the ever unpredictable rules “The Men Who Would Be Kings”. The game begins with the cannon overturned in some scrub, an exposed Canadian militia unit in close order in the middle of a featureless prairie, two other companies unprepared for battle, and a number of natives firing away.

I had rolled for the Scout to give advance warning and my extremely low rolls for his movement speed suggests he was on foot only and hobbling at best. 

Smith consults with the wounded Bolton Scout and his contingent faces the tree-line.

For entertainment I rolled for the traits of each of the Canadian Leaders per the rules. The artillery has Simmons “a weakling” so no melee bonus [well, that makes sense for an artilleryman].   The marching unit under Stepford has a weak leadership of 7+ but with the trait as a “Musketry Buff” if activation orders for fire or volley he increases to 5+. [and this on the unit already in close formation, the volley fire bonus could be advantageous. Unfortunately it could not be used during the game] 

The forward unit has a steady officer under Smith with the leader ship of 6+ and the rear unit under Gallant has [surprisingly I rolled box cars] hero status activation at 4+ 

The Cree shooting immediately gave Stepford’s marchers almost 50% casualties but they would not break and retired to the road as Smith’s Company poured steady but ineffective long range fire against the tree-line. To the south, Gallant’s company led by the “hero”, steadily moved to the flank of the Cree position and, yes, the artillery crew continued to upright the cannon and prolong it into a firing position 

At this point the Cree fire ceased.  The Canadians pondered whether the Cree had abandoned the attack or not [actually the Canadians were all out of affect of a long range fire, so I ceased to roll for firing!]

The artillery finally moved into position but… “Dobkins, you bloody idiot! Go back and get the ammunition!” …the artillery it fails it’s firing activation.

Dobkin at left. Does he finally have the correct ammunition? ( or more to the point, can I roll enough to activate the artillery firing?!)

Meanwhile Gallant leads his company to flank the tree line when the tree-line explodes with gunfire, frightening in the militiamen and pinning them despite their fine leader.

The Canadian militiamen ready to charge into the woods. Smith's in the foreground, Gallant's depleted group in the distance.  The smoke-balls are an indication of the Cree fire expenditure. Historically they were quite low on ammunition so I roll for the amount they have to fire, and lose d6 pip per activation attempt.  Thus often they are forced to retire due to lack of ammo. 

“Dobkins! Bring the correct ammunition, damn you!”  I read the rules with the artillery ignoring cover.  Well, this should cause some Cree casualties.   Wrong. I rolled no hits on 4+!   But a turn later, finally the gun got into action regularly hitting the southern Cree unit and repeatedly pinning them.  This allowed Gallant’s militiamen to approach closer without oncoming fire.   Smith finally giving up on his long distance fire, double-timed it towards the tree line. He was rewarded by no further casualties.  My Cree fire was rolling poor. The Canadian militiamen were surviving the weakening Cree fire; and for the most part the Cree were not willing to engage in hand to hand combat so with only a few rounds of ammunition left, they got on their horses and retired from the “Battle of Broken Wagon” 

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Game Notes:

-I needed a back-story to why one of my units is in march order but not the others; so the “centipede” narrative. This unit may only have convoy duties henceforth.

-no warning explanation in the story is for my very low movement rolls

-I only remove 1 figure regardless of hits, but account for the total hits for the important Pinning Tests. This serves to make the overall miniature removal a little more realistic but the rule’s pinning numbers remain intact.

-historically, the Canadian militiamen were enthusiastic but had very little training.

-the miniatures are with a metal artillery crew having new headdress modelled, and the infantry converted Perry plastic ACW Union types.  Not perfect but with a wargamer’s squint….. 

-I added the Perry Home Service helmets because I was given them, they did indeed wear them (!), and I did not thus need to model more glengarries!  





Sunday, 17 July 2022

1859 Game concluded


This post is for my wargaming friends Peter, Craig, and Kevin who suffered through my 15mm 1859 scenario on Friday night.  

With introductory rules, a (probably) too numerous contingents, and a flawed deployment consignments, the battle was only half-concluded by late night.

The next morning, looking at the table, thinking to put everything away, I decided I had the time to play the game out and perhaps clean-up the rules in the process…and yes, have fun playing.

We had concluded on Friday with the Austrian maneuver, so I started at the “top of the inning” with the Piedmontese continuing their rather ‘measured’ advance on the Austrian held river crossings.  I continued with Peter’s usual low dice rolls for unit initiative [ in fact, rolling no higher than 3 for all twelve Piedmontese units! This on a simple d6 die…..]

The Piedmontese army of 1859.


The Piedmontese advance (left) and the Austrians (in white) defending the town and river crossings

The French continued their attack on the Austrian left wing.  The Grenadiers of the French Imperial Guard combined and threw back a Hungarian unit but the attached French General was killed. This would not help the activation of the other units in his division.

The French Guard Grenadiers combine to attack the 'Hungarian' unit.

The ‘African’ Division of elite Zouaves, Turcos, and French Foreign Legion had already been worn down but the large stoic Austrian formations.

A interesting combat happened as the tiny but eager French Guard Lancers unit , resplendent in white, charged into their Austrian counterparts down the tree-lined road but were ignominiously bounced! They quickly rallied but the second round on combat against the equally tiny unit of Austrian Uhlans all but destroyed both units.

The tiny French Guard Lancers (in white) charging down the road - to their doom....

The now infamous particular Piedmont unit formed in road column ready to assault the town crossing, again rolled several successive ‘1’  for maneuver, declining every effort to move, like it had for Peter!  It was thus that the Piedmontese struggled to get any coordinated attack against the towns.  However, in a bold, some may suggest foolhardy attack, the small unit of elite Piedmontese Bersaglieri moved gained the most northern town and surprisingly continued to hold it against overwhelming odds as the Austrian masses could not coordinate any serious counter-attacks. But the Austrian attacks would eventually occur against the small unit beleaguered Bersaglieri so the Piedmont General attached himself to the only untouched infantry unit left to him and would try to lead it across the bridge into the town. However, the well-placed Austrian guns along side the town blasted him and many of the would-be attackers, stifling all thought of further Piedmontese assaults.

The elite Bersaglieri (on road) bravely attack against overwhelming numbers and succeed to gain the town! (yes, dice rolls had much to do with this!) 

It must be confessed that the Austrian commander started his retreat north to his LOC but that the Piedmont holding of the their only town was tenuous and the French elite troops were largely destroyed, this might have been premature ....but very historically accurate depiction of the Austrian High Command attitude!   

The battle was concluded at that point, both sides worn to exhaustion but the Austrians with more intact units giving them the slight victory.


Sunday, 3 July 2022

National Holiday = an all-Canada battle

To celebrate the National Holiday,  Peter came over for a good ‘ol all-Canadian fight during the War of 1812.  My ‘Chateauguay’ Collection represents some of the units which fought that pivotal battle which an all-Canadian force of English and French speaking soldiers and heavily outnumbered defeated a major advance toward Montreal by the Americans in their effort to cut the supply route to the rest of the colony.  During this campaign during the year 1813, interestingly no British troops took part.

The small scenario I proposed, was the safety of a supply wagon, along with the retreating Americans, from the pursuing Canadian forces.  Hampton, the historical American General in charge of the campaign, a drunkard and rather poor commander, insisted the wagon must be preserved at all cost - it held his entire brandy supply! - and if some of the units also could be preserved all the better.  

The main American force with the 'brandy wagon' and ill-led artillery on the road, the 10th US in column moving towards further defensive positions to the rear and the 30th US in close order along the rock wall to face the Canadians.

We used ‘Rebels and Patriots’ rules from Osprey publishing but I thought to add the leadership rolls for each unit from their colonial ‘The Men Who Would Be Kings’.  This had the effect of changing the activation rolls significantly.  The American artillery was run by a fool.  My 1,1 roll had it at an activation of 10+ which did not allow it to move all that often!  In a fighting retreat that is not that effective.   It was eventually captured;  although after it had thwarted an attack by the equally ill-led Quebec Sedentary Militia.  Both Peter and I rolled double ones for these leadership tests…and by the end of the evening had rolled 11(!) double-ones activation and morale results!     

An unfordable separated the length of the table, with an American unit trapped on the wrong side until it could cross over and get back across the border.  Peter as the Canadian, could choose to have a unit or more pursue or not.  All in secret, I placed the rather poor American Volunteers to that side and he choose his best lead unit, the Select Embodied Militia - a well-trained formation - to hurry them along.  Within a few turns the Americans broke and ran allowing the SEM to cross over the river to block the main American retreat.  

The 'Montreal Sedentary Militia' in their 'capots' and toques (Canadian hooded coats and woollen caps) While the figures are slightly modified from the FIW, are still appropriate for this era.

The American 30th and 10th Infantry did well to hold off the Canadians, but the effective fire from the Montreal Sedentary Militia who benefited from the unit leadership roll (Peter rolled very well in this case) slowly broke the weak American will and they would eventually also break and run for the border. 

The American regulars form up behind the defensive walls.  However they would soon break and run.

While the unit-points were even, the leadership rolls had big consequences to the game, as did our usual poor rolls - as noted above - and the Americans in retreat had to retreat yet continue to face the Canadians advance, with the added problem of choosing which unit NOT to activate, allowing the wagon to possibly move.  Management problems affected each side which made for an interesting game.  

Hampton could toast to his return to the USA; unfortunately his command was destroyed and his artillery was captured, so Canada Day would be celebrated with some fireworks.  



Sunday, 19 June 2022

Light Horse action on "Waterloo Day"

 

Early Morning, June 18, 1815, somewhere near Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium.


A squadron of the 5th Belgian Light Dragoons, part of the patrols to the west of the main Allied positions are watering their horses at a pond.  A sharp-eyed trooper pointed out the green clad horsemen coming from the east.  “They are our boys”, declared the junior officer squinting into the early morning sun. The sergeant, remembering just yesterday fighting the French Chasseurs with a similar uniform to their own, was not so sure.  "But do I dare warn the officer, he questions himself, the young man is most pickish."  

With this narrative, I start a solo game in commemoration of “Waterloo Day” with a simple die roll:  1 or 2: the sergeant says nothing, 3 or 4: he voices his concern, 5 or 6:  the officer indeed discovers his error and orders the squadron to mount up immediately.

The Belgians(left) verses the similarly uniformed French Chasseurs(right)

The roll was made and the unit, while still in disarray from mounting up moments before, impetuously charges the oncoming orderly French horsemen.  Nevertheless the Belgians fought the French Chasseurs to a standstill for several minutes until the Belgians, defeated, retreated away.  The French unit reformed by were surprised by the charge of the 4th Dutch Light Dragoons, who had moved down the road from the north unobserved.  Their charge from road column was considered unformed but was equal to the French initially and for many minutes the swords rang out across the open field. 

The 4th (Dutch)Light Dragoons moving down the road towards the fight

And the Dutch attack the Chasseurs

Finally the combat was won by the Dutch and the French retreated.  But the French commander not yet ready to concede defeat, ordered his disordered troopers to about face to yet “face the enemy and for the Emperor!”  

The Dutch and Belgians quickly reordered their ranks.  While the French commanders might have wanted to offer battle, the French troopers seemed unsure about the prospect and were slow to reform.  The Dutch, close-by, had no problem making the distance to the French Chasseurs and slammed into them.  The Chasseurs lost more casualties and galloped off back to the east in great haste while the Dutch could claim no casualties but for a few slight sword cuts.

While battle called Waterloo would be started in a few hours, this was a bit of a fun little tabletop action to commemorate the 207th anniversary for the Napoleonic wargamer.

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Of the play:  It was done solo.  The rules are one of my own devising which basically are a "can do or can't do" on a 6+ roll on 2d6.  For this battle combat of all Light Horse, roll 12 dice with any 5+ producing hits (4 needed to make a casualty) but the most counting as a combat win. Defeated gallop away, the victorious unit rolls to see if it reforms or not. If not, fight with 6s only.  

The figures are Perry plastics, with the Dutch and Belgians my conversions. (don't tell anyone the Dutch are indeed on Fireforge Medieval horses!)



   

Wednesday, 1 June 2022

"Hussar Rampant"

Originally conceived from the mechanisms of the 'Rampant Series' of wargame rules, we wanted to push around our growing collections of Napoleonic cavalry units without all the "baggage" of also using infantry, command control, morale and other annoying stuff.  Just straight cavalry charges in sexy 28mm scale.  

We offer this game at the 2022 Enfilade Convention to all, especially those who bring their own units.  For example, Bob had just picked up a painted hussar unit of 12 at the bring-and-buy so wanted to play with his new purchase. We added this with Ron's and Seth's Brunswicker combined unit together with my units of French, British and converted Dutch-Belgians and Seth's nicely done units, to have some 15 units on the table.

To add some "terrain" to the field of battle (let's call it on the ridge at Waterloo), I placed my large square of Highlanders in the middle for  something for the horses to dance around, and placed 'the dead infantry' to be speed bumps (reducing the unit's speed by 3 inches)

A simple 6+ on 2d6 was required for ALL rolls (simple to remember, what!) and random initiative made for chaotic action.  For the record the Allies won the action with more surviving units despite the French having more of my cuirassiers in the action....

depleted units of Ron and Seth's Black Brunswickers and my French Cuirassiers clash in front of the Highland square.

 
Bob's "newly recuited" Hussars go up against my British Light Dragoons

On come the British Horse. Tally ho!

Monday, 30 May 2022

Aspern-Essling Napoleonic game

 


Finally got to gather with the ‘American boys’ after two years of Covid restrictions, and had a go at the Napoleonic battle of Aspern-Essling during the Enfilade! Convention held in Olympia, Washington State, USA last weekend.


The Austrians did well in this game with both towns taken by the end of “the first day” We ended it at that point as the armies had created a bit of separation as both sought to consolidate their positions with the advent of the flood of French reinforcements crossing the famous ‘rickety’ lone bridge over the Danube River.  I had a simple chart to rolled off after each Austrian turn to determine the repair or further destruction limiting those French reinforcements to each of their commands. I purposely created the chart to have the repairs done on low dice while destruction is made with high dice rolls. As I know, almost as a certainty, I will probably only roll low, the French will get their additional supports! this little trick worked as of course I rolled low each turn and thus the French engineers did their thing.  Felt these additional forces might be necessary for the French to hold off the Austrians long enough to have a successful withdrawal as they were historically.  While we would have loved to see the battle to its natural conclusion, the final deployments and strengths would suggest that that might well have been the outcome….. subject to the will of the dice, of course…..


I supplied the French side, while Seth supplied the Austrians.  James’ beautiful Essling Granary model formed the Essling town element, while my yellow paper church formed the town of Aspern, both buildings famous within the historical affair.

view from the south-west

French defence of the Granary (Essling)

Another angle of the "Village of Essling"  Further parts of Lannes command are being moved behind Bessieres' French heavy cavalry (upper right of photo)

The Austrian advance upon the Village of Aspern.


Situation in the final hour of the 'first day' of the battle/game.  We agreed it will be considered a minor Austrian victory at this point with both villages in Austrian control

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Royal Marine Artillery (Napoleonic era)

 I recently pulled out an old reference page I had photocopied years ago and discovered that the rocket battery I had painted wore the Royal Artillery, not the correct Royal Marine Artillery uniform. Well...

Uniform plate from "Military Uniforms in America, Years of Growth 1796-1851, The Company of Military Historians, pg.81.

Actually it was just the shako cords and tunic lace from yellow to white but it does give a slightly different look and a distinctive unit on the table.



Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Dice Fields

 

My newly painted 103rd Foot for the War of 1812.  It participated in the Niagara Region in 1814.  Old Glory 28mm.  I have now some 15 units of redcoats for that war and have painted over 500 figures of 28mm Napoleonic era British Infantry for my various collections....oh dear that is a lot of scarlet and lace....

Inspired by a gamer-friend's idea, I recently created nice terrain pieces but also very utilitarian to keep dice together and not hurling across the table when rolled by some of the more 'energetic' players.  These are for North America c.18th and 19th C.  I will be building others for the other various topography to blend into the terrain work.

The newly built "dice fields" in my quest to have 'visual continuity' for the table-top. I subsequently added more 'shrubbery' under the fences to make them a bit more 'organic'. Made from coffee-stir sticks.  But ready-made plastic fences could be employed;  as can walls of various constructions.




Sunday, 8 May 2022

"Hussar Rampant'

"Hussar Rampant"

is the current naming of the Napoleonic era cavalry-clash rules a group of us are slowly developing to allow us to use the masses of our pretty cavalry figures in a fun, free-for-all, charge if you got'em.  From the genesis of the "Rampant style of rules" each reiteration changes significantly with each game!  and no doubt will continue, like, forever....

Exposed these to a couple of gaming friends with a square of Highlanders to maneuver around.  From this version of play-test I ran another game with a few at the club.  It worked, but new alterations were noted...of course...  :)


Dutch-Belgian cavalry (plastic conversions, by me) vs French heavies (in the background)

 Dutch-Belgian Light Dragoons moving into a charge position.....




Roman 'eye-candy'

 

I will only torture some of my strictly historical followers with this final example from my ‘historical’ skeleton armies.

I was given these…sign posts?…telegraph poles?….with the request that he would like to see that I could come up with something.  To me they are kinda crosses.  I dug around my skeleton bits box and came up with straight arms with open hands and torsos and heads.   Crosses, well, crucifix I would imagine.  No legs left from all the other builds; but, hey, they are skeletons... the legs fell off at some point in the past!

“Eye-candy” for the Roman supporter.  Don’t mess with the Empire or this will be your fate…..

Sunday, 17 April 2022

Successors on the thin side

 I have been smitten with the construction of ancient armies using the Wargames Atlantic skeletons and did some as Celtic Ancient Britons.  The WA sprues are obviously designed with a Hellenistic Greek flavour in mind containing pike arms which so far had not used. Pikes were used by the later Successor armies of Alexander fighting the incursions of Celts ( “Galatians” ) and even employing elephants.   Hmm, that’s kinda cool, and allows me to pick a third different army to play! I had a 3D print of a Woolly Mammoth printed which I then modified mainly by the tusks (I could not find a plastic skeleton model - at least to scale…) and begged wargaming friends for some spare ancient Greek type plastic parts who kindly provided enough to fill a 24 point Dragon Rampant force (thanks David and James!).  


The 3D print was extremely poor so needed to literally pore a bottles of liquid Super Glue over the model to prevent it from layering away as I stripped off the supports. Uggh!! Luckily avoided gluing my fingers together but certainly swore a lot in the process!  The purple cloth over the mid-section of the elephant seemed to be a common feature of the Hellenistic elephants - or at least to the modern illustrators and sculptors - and was needed more on the left side than the right side to cover the gap from missing ribs as the model was breaking apart in my hands! I needed to re-sculpt major portions.  

The model was a good in design however as the thin howdah could be removed and a more substantial one built on the flat surface with styrene sheets and corner pieces. The large Greek shields give more ‘identity’ to the model.  Finally, I added the thick ropes holding the fighting compartment onto its back with green stuff.  

The cavalry were constructed again with horses using melted down plastic sprues to represent the decomposing flesh.   Full torsos for the riders were used needing only to add skeleton arms, legs and, some helmeted heads.  Not really natural poses (They started as infantry and it is really tough to glue on stiff legs into place while also imbedding in a still curing green-stuff saddles!  But heck, these are the usual uncoordinated muscle-less skeleton dudes!)   Added the flowing capes from a medieval set and gave them a bit of color as being the elite Companions.  

Along with those figures for the collection, I made a temple out of styrofoam and wine corks while watching sports on the tube.  A thick layer of watered-down PVA glue (White Glue) gives a good hard coating and nice surface to paint.  

Roman Auxilia protecting the temple
Celtic chariots moving past the old 'white marble' temple
The Successors advancing on, rather a-historically, Imperial Romans in a recent game using a three-way fight scenario. The Galatians/Ancient Britons are facing more Romans on the other end of the table. The two would-be allies then fought against each other to a draw with the remnants of the Romans looking on....

I think I have now throughly quenched the ancients builds and currently have yet another British 1812 unit on the paint table.


Thursday, 31 March 2022

the original French Zouaves


The famous Zouave military unit of the French Army started as a tribal enemy to the French occupation of modern-day Algeria in 1832 but within only a couple of years they were recruited. Its original commander designed the distinctive uniform based upon the tribal dress which, interestingly, did not much alter for another 150 or so years.  The ethnic makeup of the unit soon became all French in nature, but the uniform remained quite standard.  I am showing the earlier dress which included the green turban for the 2nd battalion.  The 1st wore a red turban; while later years had the turban in the well-known white as this had less a Muslim connotation.  The leggings are portrayed differently by various illustrators, but I went with black as this is a bit different than the usual brown leather look.  I am using the Perry ACW plastic versions which are modelled after the famous American 5th New York Volunteers who, in turn, modelled their uniform very closely to the French version.  Thus I only needed to modify the round American canteen into the black leather water carrier of the French (albeit of a slightly later era to be honest) and remove all the oval Union Army buckle badges. A common trait of the French of the era was to cover the ammunition pouch with a linen which I mimicked to give them that much more not-the-American-version look! 

Here they are somewhere in North Africa with a French occupied village in the background.  






Thursday, 24 March 2022

A Canadian colonial clash

 The Battle of Batoche, 1885 

While the famous American conflicts against the native populations of the ‘West” were almost over by the time of this battle, Canadian expansion into the Prairies was continuing apace.  In the area of Saskatchewan, the indigenous Cree and Metis ( a mixed race and culture of farmers and hunters of French-Canadian and Native inhabitants ) were feeling the pressure on an ever increasing eastern homesteader possession; with Louis Riel the ‘spiritual’ leader of this very autonomous people. History has called this conflict ‘the Northwest Rebellion’.

While a few other major skirmishes had occurred, it was at the village of Batoche in modern-day Saskatchewan, Canada that the decisive battle to end their resistance to this pressure was backed by the military of the Canadian government which rested upon militia units from the eastern provinces.  These units made up of civilians were certainly enthusiastic enough but inexperienced.  The few Metis were often good shots and very experienced in ‘field craft’ but ill-supplied.  

Faced with the Canadian advance upon their ‘capital’ village, the Metis built small, effective and well disguised, three-man rifle-pits blocking the plodding Canadian advance by Frederick Middleton.   

The Metis rifle pits.  The figure within are Brigade Games Boers without any alteration.  Period photos show the Metis in similar attire.

What is interesting about this whole affair is the decisive battle was a prolonged four-day affair with only some 24 dead and 76 wounded total from both sides from the 1,166 engaged (Wikipedia). With my calculator at the ready, this is only just over 8% casualties over a lengthy 4 days. With an eight hour ‘work day’, this would have on average 1 casualty every 20 minutes or so.    No Somme, Cannae, Shiloh, or Little Big Horn here.  But with that, most rulesets have great clumps of miniatures removed from firing and combat.  Obviously this will not do.  However my new, go-to rule set of “The Men Who Would Be Kings” (a colonial set by Osprey Publishing) could be modified to accommodate the lack of casualties but still have units pinned, unable to effectively operate and have ‘morale’ issues to prevent much activity.  One other aspect of the battle was the ever decreasing ammuntion supply of the Metis.  They simply did not have the supplies needed.  Their fire had so decreased by the fourth day, along with the withdrawal of many who had given up the fight, that the Canadian soldiers frustrated by their commanders slow activity took it upon themselves to charge the Metis rifle-pits thus ending any further Metis resistance. 



The 'TMWWBK' rules are adequate but for two small changes.  First, any casualties would be limited to one per successful firing regardless of the actual number of hits. Pinning, not casualties, would be the important issue.  Secondly the Metis would set up in the rifle-pits designated as ‘hard cover’ and combined with their good-shooter ability and the Canadian militia poor firing, will have the unequal shooting which occurred.  However, the Metis ever decreasing ammunition supply would be handled by giving them a secret die roll (from the Canadian player) how many shots they would be allowed. I gave a 1d6 roll per rifle-pit;  but each day would see that amount decreased by one. Thus at best the Metis would have only 50% firing minus any further casualties or abandonments in the final phase of the game.   The Canadian player might see less fire power but would be unsure of the amount remaining thus continue with caution which was the trademark of the engagement.  

A “day” ( the historic battle lasting four days) would be 8 turns in length.  The Canadian player must have overcome all resistance to win.  If at the end of each ‘day’ (the 8 turns) and the terms of victory not met, the ‘day’ is over and the action pauses.  Immediately in the ‘morning’ the players can reposition their units with their morale afresh  (minus previous casualties of course ) in any new attack position along the start line for the Canadians or any available rifle-pit for the Metis.   

a Canadian Rifle unit in a staged photo.  During the game they did not reach this close to the Metis rifle  pits!

a red tunic clad Canadian militia unit. Indeed, some of the units sent by the Government, were still to wear their dress uniforms including the Home Service uniforms  

The TMWWBK rules are interesting as activation and morale are key aspects but can be very dice fickle.  The resultant lack of action and easily gained pinning effects are perfect for re-creating this battle. The photos are from my second solo play-test.  

The Canadian Militia, whose dress was very much influenced/copied that of the British home country, were in either contemporary rifle-green or red tunics.  As far as I know, the only source for miniatures are 1980s RAFM miniatures.  These are small “true 25mm” very stiff in posture and lacking multiple poses.  Thus I needed to create my own and used Perry Union ACW plastics. While not completely accurate, they do look the part and I needed to only to remove the oval badges and green-stuff the glengarry caps or, in some cases, add a Perry ‘Home Service’ helmet head.  (indeed some units wore these! )…. oh, and a different paint scheme, of course.  Much of the militia had no other uniform for campaign but their full dress version.  

The Canadian uniform of the era

The very dark green - almost black of the Rifle Regiments. I highlighted a dark green over a black base color on the miniatures.  

the model within the Park Site's pavilion 

I built my model rifle pits on this example.